Although nonoperative management is the standard of care for hemodynamically stable children with blunt splenic trauma, significant variation in practice exists. Little attention has been given to physician factors associated with management differences.
Nationally representative mail survey conducted in June 2008.
Ten percent random sample of active, dues-paying fellows in the American College of Surgeons.
Main Outcome Measures
Knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs toward pediatric splenic injury management, including the role of clinical practice guidelines.
Almost all of the 375 responding surgeons (97.4%) agreed that surgical intervention is not immediately necessary for hemodynamically stable children. However, surgeons reported significant disagreement regarding whether blood should be administered before operative intervention for hemodynamically unstable children and whether explorative surgery is needed for stable patients with evidence of contrast extravasation on computed tomography. Only 18.7% of surgeons reported being very familiar with the clinical practice guidelines for the management of pediatric blunt splenic trauma from either the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma or the American Pediatric Surgical Association. Surgeons who were very familiar with either guideline were significantly more likely to rate the guidelines as beneficial (90.0% vs 72.8%, P = .002).
General surgeons reported varying degrees of familiarity with and use of clinical practice guidelines for pediatric splenic injury management. Limited pediatric experience and lack of pediatric hospital resources may limit more widespread adoption of nonoperative management. Targeted educational interventions may help increase surgeon knowledge of guidelines and best practices.